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UFAM 2009

The Brazilian government faces criminal charges after a report found that the Amazon rainforest is being deforested three times faster than last year as rising food prices encourages more illegal logging.

A study by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research found that destruction of the Amazon had increased 228% in August compared with the same month a year ago. Carlos Minc, the Brazilian environment minister, said the upcoming national elections were partly to blame, with mayors in the Amazon region ignoring illegal loggers in the hope of gaining votes locally. Environmental campaigners blamed the global spike in food prices for pushing soy farmers and cattle ranchers to clear more land for crops and grazing.” The tendency of deforestation rising is deeply related to the fact that food prices are going up," said Paulo Adario, who coordinates Greenpeace's Amazon campaign. "When you have elections, the appetite of authorities to enforce laws is reduced. But the federal government has to step in and do its job. “The steep rise in deforestation is a sharp reversal after three years of decline in the rate of destruction.

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